Drivers could be forced to slow down on some degraded country roads and cars, trucks and motorbikes could be permitted to travel at different speeds under wide-ranging reforms designed to save lives on the road.
New rules proposed by a parliamentary inquiry into road deaths also include increased drug testing and more research into driver impairment from drugs.
The cross-party committee calls for research on road rules in place overseas, including “vehicle-specific” speed limits for cars, trucks and motorcycles.
The Victorian government has confirmed it’s considering the report, having set a goal of halving road deaths by 2030.
In 2019, a total of 266 people died on Victoria’s roads, compared to 211 last year. The five-year average to 2019 remained stubbornly high at 256.
The report from the Inquiry into the Increase in Victoria’s Road Toll comes as authorities prepare for the Easter break, which is traditionally a busy time on Victoria’s roads. The committee included Labor, Liberal and crossbench MPs.
Some councils have already moved to enact speed limit change. The Mornington Peninsula Shire has introduced a two-year trial to slash limits on dozens of roads after declaring a crisis at the end of 2019, when 14 people died in local road accidents.
Labor MP and committee chair Enver Erdogan said the government’s “towards zero” policy had set an ambitious target to reduce the road toll to fewer than 200 lives and a 15 per cent reduction in serious injuries between 2016 and 2020.
“Unfortunately, the target was not met and in fact the road toll has plateaued in recent years,” he said. “There is no one reason for this, equally there is no silver bullet to fix the problem. Rather it is a matter of more hard work over a wide array of policy areas.”